Press Releases | Lyons welcomes suspension of Cllr Jolene Bunting

Lyons welcomes suspension of Cllr Jolene Bunting

The Local Government Commissioner for Standards has today suspended Independent Councillor Jolene Bunting from her position on Belfast City Council for a period of four months, pending the conclusion of the overall investigation which is due to finish early next year. SDLP Councillor for the Balmoral DEA, Donal Lyons had made one of the earliest complaints considered in the Commissioners report.

Speaking after reading the report, Cllr Lyons commented:

“This ruling is an explicit acknowledgment that Jolene Bunting’s actions were unacceptable, and the obnoxiousness of her behaviour is shown by the decision to suspend her immediately while the overall investigation concludes.

“The volume of complaints made against Cllr Bunting took more than an hour to outline at the recent hearing. These included suggestions that Cllr Bunting had demonised minority groups, made light of the Irish famine, mocked children with autism, defended the distribution of racist material and allowed Council resources to be used inappropriately.

“It’s important to recognise that the complaints dealt not just with an isolated incident but an ongoing pattern of behaviour. I had raised this with the Commissioner’s office several times during the year urging them to use their powers to take swift action and I’m glad they have now done so. 

“Jolene Bunting has had a low attendance at Council and Committee meetings this year, making maybe one in five of her meetings, so it is unlikely that her constituents will be impacted in any way. The main effect will be that she won’t have a platform to spout such hate filled nonsense.

“No doubt we’ll hear her complain about her right to free speech but this was covered comprehensively in the report.  At the end of the day no one has a right to incite hatred or put people in harms way.” 

Cllr Donal Lyons

07846 770144

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